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Opeyemi Rotimi Adojutelegan: We need a unified approach to fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

 

Money Laundering deprives all of us of our collective wealth

The Chairman Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria, ACCOBIN Opeyemi  Rotimi Adojutelegan spoke with Adeola Ogundimu,Adesola Sotinwa and Bade-Adefioye Adedamola on the culture of sound Corporate Governance in Nigerian banks, the evils of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Nigeria,  controversy surrounding the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit , how  the Association  has impacted Nigeria’s Compliance Industry, in past 10 years .

 

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What are the evils of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Nigeria?

The evils of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing are too numerous to mention. Money Laundering as you are aware is the laundering of illicit or ill-gotten wealth to disguise the source of the funds. Money Laundering deprives all of us of our collective wealth and allows money that could have been used to build roads, hospitals, school and provide basic infrastructure for all of us, end up in the hands of a few people. We have a part to play in stemming the tide of Money Laundering, as the funds are usually passed through the financial institutions. We can stop it by stepping up our game and strengthening our Anti -Money Laundering processes. That would allow us detect and report such funds to the relevant Government agencies. I don't have to say too much about Terrorist Financing, as we are all living witnesses to the menace of Boko Haram and the wanton destruction of lives and properties which is a direct fall-out of having people funding Terrorism.

What is the position of ACCOBIN on the controversy surrounding the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)?

The view of the Association is that the NFIU should maintain its independence in line with the FATF recommendations.

What can be done to improve the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in Nigeria and the banking industry?

We need a unified approach to fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing which would involve the Government, Regulators, Law Enforcement Agencies and the Financial Institutions coming up with a holistic approach that would ensure every loophole which allows this scourge to thrive is blocked. On our own part, we would continue to invest in technology and come up with processes that would allow the Financial Institutions to contribute its own quota to fighting these menace.

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What can be done to improve the culture of sound Corporate Governance in Nigerian banks?

We must continue to drive home the message of sustainability in the Nigerian banking sector and build institutions that would outlive all of us. The truly global banks have been in existence for centuries and this is as a result of the fact that they have entrenched sound Corporate Governance practices. We must move away from a situation where individuals thrive above organizations.

 

What is the motivation behind the 10th Year Anniversary?

The motivation behind the 10th year anniversary is to celebrate and showcase the successes that have been recorded by the Association. Furthermore, the anniversary celebration affords us the opportunity to recognize and appreciate all our partners and stakeholders who have been involved with us every step of the way all through the 10 years that we have been in existence.

How has ACCOBIN impacted Nigeria or the Compliance Industry, in past 10 years?

The Association has greatly contributed its quota to the Nigeria financial landscape by ensuring the strengthening of Anti Money Laundering measures in all Nigerian banks. The Association has worked tirelessly with Regulators and Law Enforcement Agencies in the formation of laws and regulations that govern Compliance activities and was also instrumental to Nigeria being removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) "Grey" list. The Association has also become a Self-Regulatory Organization that regulates the activities of Compliance in all the banks without waiting for Regulatory directives. The Association has also set minimum standards that Compliance practitioners are expected to adhere to through the setting up of the Compliance Institute of Nigeria (CIN) which offers certification courses. It goes without saying that the Association has done quite a lot in raising the Compliance bar in Nigeria.

 

What’s the reason behind the new logo and name change?DSC_6484

The reason behind the new logo and name change is for us to re-brand and re-position the Association. As you are well aware, life is not static but dynamic and any Association that wants to be dynamic must regularly take stock of its activities and always take steps to re-brand itself so that it continues to remain relevant.

What is ACCOBIN’s vision for the next t 10 years?

The Association vision for the next 10 years is to continue to remain relevant and to strengthen the collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies and Regulators in coming up with well-articulated rules and regulations that would make financial institutions stronger and better equipped to deal with the scourge of Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and improve Compliance practices in general. The Association also intends to partner with other Compliance Association globally to enable it leverage off global best practices in the Compliance world so that such practices can be imbibed in Nigeria.

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